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Medicinal Fungi Cultivation

Last week we started our experiments on cultivation of medicinal fungi, especially Reishi, Lion's Mane, Cordyceps and Turkey Tail. Mushrooms, as a saprophytic organism accumulates and concentrates some heavy metals and toxins contained in the substrate of their growth. It is important to have a source of mushroom material cultivated according to BIO and ECO rules. Large industrial plantations, especially those in China India and South America commonly have as a substrate straw and grain cultivated with use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The same is with the water, if it contain heavy metals, microplastic or any chemical pollutants, the mycelium will absorb and concentrate it in its body. Large-scale plantations also use antibiotics to prevent bacteria contamination of their fungi cultures. If you are buying medicinal fungi from such suppliers, check if they have any credible certificates, because incorrectly cultivated mushroom may became chemical bomb that brings more toxins than medicinal properties.

So, the first step is to obtain healthy and strong mycelium out of fresh and dried fruiting body material and spore-prints. It is done in sterilized agar plates and flasks where clean parts of the mycelium may be separated from contaminating bacteria, mold and yeast cultures. Several repetitions of such process allows to get clean and healthy sample of selected species that may be used in the next step: liquid culture. In this stage the sample of mycelium is multiplied in a fluid matrix and may be used later to inoculate grain or wood substrate, where the fruiting is conducted. Here we thought to experiment with Amanita regalis that does not occur in our region. This species, like all Amanitas, is mycorrhyzal fungi that grows in a symbiosis with fir and spruce trees, so it is not possible to cultivate it on artificial substrates. Nevertheless, if we succeed to obtain liquid culture of mycelium it would be possible to introduce it to natural state in local forest.

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